Which smartphone operating system is more secured – the iPhone iOS or the Android operating system? Most people only look at the physical hardware design of the smartphone when shopping but never really think about which operating system is more secured, even though the purpose of a smartphone is to facilitate daily usage that you normally do at home with a desktop or notebook computer, such as banking, online purchasing, and social networking. With viruses and hacking getting more and more common with smartphones, your sensitive personal information being sent over the internet better be secured.

With the iPhone, there’s only one hardware device made by Apple which uses their iOS operating system. However, there are many different brands of smartphones made by companies such as Google, HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG, and Sanyo, that’s using the Android operation system. The best way to compare the hardware, you need to look at all those Android smartphones as they are all different, to find out which one you like, then compare that to the Apple iPhone.

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The Android operating system is a ‘free and open-source software’ (F/OSS, FOSS) that Google licensed to device manufacturers. This means licensed users may use, study, change or improve the design of its source code. This allows device manufacturers to customize the software. The Apple iOS on the other hand is not open-source software. In fact, according to the Apple website, the “iOS is a platform designed with security at its core and provides a secure platform foundation for third-party applications to take advantage of.”

There are thousands of programs called ‘Apps’ available that you can download for each of the operating systems. With Android, there are many websites where you can download free or paid Apps. However, with the iPhone, you can only download apps using the free iTunes program (the official App Store for the iPhone), own by Apple. All iPhone Apps must complete a certification process before Apple will allow the Apps to be downloadable on iTunes. Therefore, the Apps are secured without any malicious concerns. There are ‘hackers’ who use programs to break the iOS security so that they can install Apps not certified by Apple. This process is known as ‘jail breaking’ or modifying the operating system and will make the iPhone vulnerable to viruses, malware and other security concerns.

In August of 2010, the Android operating system was compromised by a malware program called Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer, which was disguised as a media player App. It sends out SMS text messages to all the phone numbers on the Android smartphone’s contact list, without the owner’s knowledge. In early 2011, Google removed 58 malicious Apps and resolved the security issue but not before there were over 260,000 devices downloaded the Apps. Some of these malicious Apps gathered sensitive, personal information and downloaded additional code to the operating system. This prompted security companies like Symantec and AVG Technologies to come out with antivirus software for the Android.

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Safety Tips for Smartphone Users:

Malware and viruses can manipulate your device settings and disable its features. It can send messages or make phone calls to numbers that will charge a very high rate. It can steal your sensitive personal information, such as bank account number, passwords, email addresses.

Always lock your phone. Only download Apps from known, trusted sources or official App Stores. Do not modify the operating system or ‘jail break’ your phone. Check for updates regularly for the operating system or Apps.

Should you worry about viruses and malware on smartphones?

Should you worry about security problems with Android devices?

Should you worry about antivirus programs for smartphones?

You decide!

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